Customer support is an oft-forgotten part of the sales cycle, but it’s critical to a company’s long-term success. With the increasing reliance on electronic communications, email automation is a must for companies – large and small – that want to keep their customers happy.
Strategic leverage of email automation can improve your customer support while streamlining your communication with customers and reducing demands on your customer support team. It’s a win-win for the customer and your business.
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Email automation is a broad term for any program, application, add-on, or system that leverages technology to improve sending, retrieving, and storing emails.
Email automation also uses analytics to help companies pinpoint and fine-tune their marketing efforts. By looking at how prospects and customers react to emails – do they read them and actually click on the links within them? – companies can improve their electronic communications. [Read related article: Email Analytics You Should Be Tracking]
Contrary to what the term “automated” implies, automated email marketing and communications shouldn’t be cold and robotic. In practice (and when done properly), email automation should result in a more personalized experience for the customer.
The customer should feel that the emails they receive are relevant and interesting, not impersonal, cookie-cutter communications that don’t speak to their needs or interests. Email automation can help with all of this.
Email automation offers these noteworthy benefits for businesses and, ultimately, their customers:
Here are some standard types of emails that are well suited to automation.
Fortunately, automating customer emails is easier than ever. Here are some tips on how to use email automation technologies to make your customers happier:
One of the most basic forms of email automation is mail merge. Using data from the best customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as Salesforce, you can automatically embed a client’s name and company information into an email.
But the possibilities of personalization go beyond including a name in an email. You can also use CRM software to record information about product features that may interest a potential client. You could then use that information to start an automatic email flow that incorporates specific information about that feature in a series of personalized email messages.
When responding to support requests, your tech support team could waste a lot of time and energy writing new emails for each issue that customers experience. Instead, use prewritten email templates to ensure every customer gets the same high-level answers to their questions. You can customize email templates for individual recipients to add a personal touch.
Find out what your customers really think by embedding a poll or survey into an email. Rather than outbound Net Promoter links, in-email polls can be a great way to gather customer feedback. In-email surveys are a convenient and easy way for customers to share their experiences, enabling your business to collect voluntarily provided data to improve customer service and your products.
The ability to schedule emails can be a massive benefit to salespeople, staff and business owners. Let’s say you have a small business with a team that works remotely at various times of the day, but you want to give the impression of a traditional company with regular hours. Scheduling emails to send later can help. An employee who works at 10 p.m. can follow up on emails and schedule other emails to go out first thing in the morning.
You can use email scheduling in many instances. For example, you might schedule a follow-up email with a customer for two weeks after your last response to them.
We’ve already discussed the benefits of integrating a CRM tool with your email communications, but other integrations can also significantly benefit your business. You can integrate your email with other platforms and SaaS offerings, including Google Calendar, Dropbox, Twitter and GitHub. Connect emails with tweets or include attachments from your preferred cloud storage provider. This functionality makes email faster and more convenient, resulting in quicker responses to customers.
You can make your customers happier by applying the best practices of email automation to your next email marketing campaign or customer follow-up time. Features like automated personalization, email templates, and embedded polls and surveys can help you engage and entice your customer base. They will appreciate your business more, and you will save time and money in the process.
The following example offers a personalization option so you can directly address the customer. The email provides business hours to let the customer know when to expect a response.
Hi, [insert name]. Thank you for reaching out. We received your email and will get back to you as soon as possible. Our regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
This second email lets the recipient know you’re working on the issue and that they can expect a reply soon. It also offers an expedited way to contact your business if the issue can’t wait.
Hi there. We are reviewing your message and will get back to you as quickly as possible. In the meantime, feel free to contact us by phone to speak directly with one of our associates.
Matt Shealy contributed to the writing and research in this article.